The Las Vegas Massacre

by John McClaughry 

One certain result of the horrific Las Vegas massacre will be the revival of the cry to somehow control the firearms used by the shooter. And once again, this will show how difficult it is to control crazy people by putting the government in charge of their lethal guns, poisons or explosives.

Suppose one takes the position that the government should proscribe and confiscate all privately owned firearms. That would theoretically stop all firearm related crime, but only after the coast to coast civil war was suppressed.

The gun control advocates thus fall back on Obama’s prescription that we – the government – need to keep firearms out of the hands of people who oughtn’t have them. Convicted felons are already banned from possessing firearms, and also persons involuntarily committed at some point in their lives to mental institutions. But beyond that, the government has to sort out the rest of us to identify the real or potential nut jobs. Ponder the enormity of that task.

The 64-year old Las Vegas shooter provides a special illustration of the problem. Apparently he had no criminal record, no allegiance to Hitler or ISIS, no personal revenge motive, no grievance against the world, no mental health history, no questionable associates, not anything that might suggest he would go haywire and spray a concert crowd with hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

So what test would this shooter flunk to be denied possession of a firearm?

- John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robert October 7, 2017 at 12:03 am

A sad reality is a reality nonetheless. And the sad reality is that there is nothing the government can do to guarantee that people will not kill each other. As Mr. McLaughry notes, predicting who will go crazy and perpetrate a heinous crime such as Las Vegas is not possible. The challenge in situations such as this is for politicians not to overreact. For those who are convinced that the gun is the villain, recall that Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people without a single bullet. The bottom line is that no law or measure will ensure no one will be killed by a crazed gunman, and those who want you to believe this law or that will do so have as their ultimate motive taking away your Second Amendment rights.

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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
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